Posted by Martin Reid (18.104.22.168) on September 05, 2002 at 05:06:35:
This has been a very helpful discussion for me, and I have learned much - thanks to all.
I agree a great deal with Dennis Paulson's comments about bill shape and assessing primary projection on dowitchers. My experience with shorebirds indicates that the more I study them, the more variation I find that threatens previously comfortable ID-features...
On this bird, I'd like to ask about the lower flank feathers: immediately above the red-colored feathers of the lower belly there are numerous pure white feathers that have clean, sharp spots (and a couple with bars:- the following is based on the assumption that dowitchers do not have an eclipse molt (Golden Plovers do, so maybe other shorebirds do?) The above-referenced feathers can only be alternate or basic feathers; my understanding is that the basic pattern of these feathers is plain whitish in all races of SBDO - is this correct? Thus, if it is reasonable to say that these feathers cannot be basic, the next question is: is it possible that these presumed alternate feathers could have been strongly red when fresh, yet now have lost all trace of redness while retaining pin-sharp black internal marks? if the answer to this is "no" (my inclination), then we are left with: can any LBDO sport such white alternate feathers (with crisp black marks) of such extent? again my inclination is "no". Given that such white alternate feathers are typical of caurinus SBDO, I feel that this sequence leads clearly to an ID of SBDO... but I'd appreciate getting feedback about the strengths/flaws in my argument.
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